Shirley Lane, a resident at The Palace Renaissance, has always been a fashionista. But, now with her memory fading due to Alzheimer’s disease, her loved ones wanted a unique way to preserve many of the outfits she wore to family gatherings.
Her daughter, Reba Buckley, turned to Miami Springs’ Vintage Giggles, a ten-year-old company known for creating quilts from families’ mementos.
“Mom always loved being fashion-forward. She’d put a lot of thought into her outfits,” said Buckley, one of six children. “We didn’t have a lot but she liked to dress as well as she could. Her philosophy was always to put your best foot forward.”
She found it difficult parting with Lane’s outfits that held so many memories of special occasions and were her mother’s favorites. She then learned the outfits could be refashioned into a quilt, preserving those memories.
Rebecca Lambert of Vintage Giggles said Buckley spent time describing her mom to the company, and when she brought in the clothing, she included photos and notes about Lane.
“She shared amazing stories about her mother and when she wore each of the outfits. She also shared her parents’ love story and included some items from her dad and other family members,” said Lambert. “We’re so honored to learn about people and their lives and create a visual from their stories. The quilt becomes their life stories in squares.”
Buckley gave Vintage Giggles full creative liberty. Lambert selected a color scheme of red, black, white and royal blue, Lane’s favorite color. Since a quilt consists of four components, the patchwork top, the unseen middle layer to give depth, the back fabric and the edging called the trim, Shirley’s outfits became the patchwork top. The back fabric was designed with scripted words that conveyed Shirley’s personality and included words like resilient, vivacious, happy, feisty, wonderful, tough, bold, and wonderful, just to mention a few.
“Rebecca is truly an artist,” said Buckley. “She wants to hear about a person and learn more about who they are. The quilt she creates is much more personal as she learns their stories.”
Buckley recently coordinated with the senior living community where Lane resides for a special unveiling of the quilt. She said she was able to connect with her mother as they discussed the different squares of fabrics and found the quilt evoked many memories.
“The quilt preserves our family memories that can be treasured and passed down for generations,” she said. “Plus, when I wrap myself in the quilt, it feels like a hug from my mom. It turned out so wonderful that now my sisters want quilts too!”